Tim Buckley was pronounced dead of a heroin overdose and alcohol consumption on June 28, 1975 at the age of 28. The folk movement lost a brilliant, if at times eclectic artist. During his short but prolific career he issued nine studio albums.
During the early part of his career he would be a classic folk artist and songwriter. As commercial success eluded him, his highest charting album only reached number 81 on the Billboard charts, he moved toward a jazz sound and even experimented with some funk.
Live At The Folklore Center, NYC – March 6, 1967 finds him squarely in the folk phase of his career. The Folklore Center began in Greenwich Village but moved to a smaller place on Sixth Avenue as folk’s popularity dwindled. Tim Buckley’s set is performed before about fifty people in this intimate setting. Owner Izzy Young taped it on a simple recorder and it sat on his shelf for decades until now.
The sound is pretty good given the primitive nature of the recording equipment in use. In some ways it actually helps the authenticity of the performance as his acoustic guitar playing and voice are presented as they were heard in 1967.
There is an ebb and flow to the set as there is to most live concerts. “Wings” presents him at his best. His voice is both soaring and poignant as he supports himself with some energetic guitar strumming. “Phantasmagoria In Two” is a beautiful love song which almost has a medieval feel to it. “Dolphins” is the only non original tune as it was written by Fred Neil. Buckley’s voice makes it a distinct interpretation. “No Man Can Find The War” is a biting protest song from the early days of The Vietnam War.
If you a fan of Tim Buckley or of folk music in general you will be pleased to find six songs of his that were previously unreleased. While new songs “Just Please Leave Me,” “Cripples Cry,” “What Do You Do (He Never Saw You),” “If The Rain Came,” “Country Boy,” and “I Can’t Leave You Loving Me” break no new ground, they do cover the old very well and give insight into the folk movement of the 1960s.
Today Tim Buckley is a forgotten figure except to aficionados of the sixties folk scene. Live At The Folklore Center, NYC – March 6, 1967 is an excellent live example of an important type of American music from an artist whose career was all too short.